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Olivia Crain is a major character in The Haunting of Hill House. She was an architect, and the matriarch of the Crain family.

Profile[]

Appearance[]

Olivia Crain has long dark brown/black hair that reaches past her shoulders with grey/blue eyes. She mainly wears dark colours of mostly navy blues, greens and greys.

She also wears a plain gold circular locket with photos of her youngest children, the twins Eleanor and Luke, inside.[1]

After her death, her spirit primarily wears red to signify the Red Room. According to costume designer Lynn Falconer, her robes represent Olivia's declining mental state:

"If you were to line up their actual linear sequence, the robes signal what might be happening to Olivia until she perishes. She starts out in a super rich teal velvet robe, mediates with the green printed robe, and dies in something very light and whisper-thin (...) Liv’s red robe is the green robe. It turns red when she becomes a ghost."[2]

Additionally, when Nell travels to Hill House as an adult and changes into a gown, she selects a garment that Olivia had previously worn:

"Olivia wears the Bent Neck Lady’s gown in Episode One, when Hugh comes into bed. That gown becomes Nell’s Bent Neck Lady under-gown. Nell is continuing the tragic legacy of Olivia by inhabiting her mother's pieces."[2]

Personality[]

Olivia cares deeply about her children, who she raised with Hugh to be exposed to all kinds of ideas and beliefs to give them a richer understanding of the world and to form their own beliefs instead of raising them under one singular religion, quoting Hamlet: "There are more things in heaven and Earth, Horatio/Than are dreamt of in your philosophy".

From her Grandmother, Olivia has inherited what she refers to as "sensitivity" - a high level of perception which made her sensitive to spirits and other supernatural phenomena[3], which she experiences as similar to deja vu when touching objects, being able to visualize memories of the previous owners of the objects[4] Unfortunately this sensitivity also gave her migraine headaches with auras, which she called "color storms", that give her debilitating headaches but, while living in Hill House, also make her uncharacteristically aggressive, one time smashing a mirror that Stephen painted for her, and shouting at Shirley after she repeatedly asked about one of her kittens. She passed on this sensitivity to her daughters in varying degrees, with Theodora particularly effected, to the point of needing to wear gloves and long sleeved clothing to stop herself feeling overwhelmed.

History[]

Early Life[]

Olivia was born to unnamed parents and has a sister named Janet. When she was 12, her father died in a car accident[5].

As a little girl she began to experience what she refers to as "sensitivity" - a high level of perception which made her sensitive to spirits and other supernatural phenomena - which she inherited from her Grandma Mary. Unfortunately this sensitivity also gave her migraine headaches with auras, which she called "color storms".[6]

As an adult, she became an architect, and married Hugh Crain. The pair flipped houses together as a career. Olivia and Hugh had five children: Steven, Shirley, Theodora, Luke, and Eleanor.

Hill House[]

In the summer of 1992, she and her family moved into the Hill house in an effort to renovate and sell it so they could buy their own home. Olivia and Theodora's sensitivity was deeply effected while living in Hill House, with Olivia experiencing her first migraine in a year after moving in which unlike her previous migraines, manifesting in uncharacteristic aggression and "pitch black, like fireworks" instead of colored auras.

As the children began to experience more and more unexplainable supernatural phenomena, Olivia and Hugh were both sceptical, with Hugh in particular coming up with excuses for the strange sounds and experienced they had, such as imaginary friends, old pipework, or just vivid dreams or imagination. However, as Theodora showed increasingly strong perception, such as finding the hidden wine cellar that wasn't on any of the house blueprints, Olivia realised that she had inherited her sensitivity. Olivia first tested this by having Theo identify cold spots only she could feel around the house, and after the wine cellar incident sat Theo down and told her how similar Theo's experience was to Olivia's memory of her grandmother's sensitivity, giving Theo a pair of her Grandmother's gloves to help her stop feeling overwhelmed.[7]

Olivia and Hugh began clearing items left behind by Hill House's previous owners, and after handling a shawl owned by Poppy Hill, Olivia had an extremely vivid and specific sense memory of how the room once looked. She also identified the hazard of old ropes attached to the spiral staircase, which Hugh promised he would remove.

At the same time, Olivia's own sensitivity began to increase in severity, leading to constant migraines, vivid nightmares, and seeing spirits as her children had. She gets a headache and, when she returns to her red room, she sees a vision of the twins lying in a morgue. She tells her husband about her vision before falling asleep. When she wakes up in the middle of the night, she sees Poppy Hill standing in her doorway.

The night of her death, she serves poisoned tea to Luke, Nell, and Abigail.

Post-Death[]

After her death, Olivia's spirit was restless and still connected to Hill House, and continued to appear and haunt her family.

She appears to her daughter Nell at her wedding reception, stood watching her on the dance floor, smiling at her proudly. Nell brushes this off as the influence of too much champagne.[8]

26 years after her death, Olivia's daughter Nell returned to Hill House, where the house presented her with an idealized illusion of her whole family, both alive and dead, seeking to tempt her to stay with them by giving her closure to many of her unresolved traumas from throughout her life. Olivia's ghost played a central role, directing her around the house from scene to scene, and it is shown that it was Olivia's ghost, reaching into the past, which had written "Come Home Nell" on the wall which child Nell had been blamed for, though the full message reads "Welcome Home Nell". Olivia's ghost encouraged Nell up the spiral staircase to the top floor, where she gave Nell the locket she had promised her as a child - however when Nell put it around her neck, it turned into a noose made from the rope Olivia had asked Hugh Crain to remove decades earlier, but never did. Nell began panicking, calling out to Olivia, but Olivia pushed her from the spiral staircase to her death - turning her into The Bent-Neck Lady.[9]

Olivia's ghost then later appeared to Shirley as she cleaned up and used cosmetics on Nell's body after she died; she first appeared as a normal looking body, but then sat up in an unnatural fashion, revealing her caved in face that occured when she fell to her death. After Shirley turned the light on, Olivia's ghost disappeared, but a model home in Shirley's funeral home flashed the porch light twice on its own, a signal that Olivia used to do at Hill House to encourage her children to come back inside for curfew.

In rehab, Olivia's son Luke spoke at his 90-day sobriety ceremony that after his mother's death, Luke had expected every approaching car headlight to be his late mother coming back to take him home. Luke had been haunted by the spirit of William Hill throughout his life, who manifested as an unnaturally tall man in a bowler hat who floats backwards. The hat was found by Olivia in one of the Hill House upper rooms and was given to Luke by Olivia as a gift when he was a child, which caused his haunting. As an adult, Luke escaped rehab to try and help his love interest Joey, to no avail. While waiting to be picked up by his sobriety councillor Paige, Luke was followed by the floating man with increased intensity, coming to a head moments before he learned of Nell's death. Turning around to face the floating man, the floating man also turned, revealing the face of Olivia, who was wearing the bowler hat and told him to "come home" to Hill House.[10]

When Luke returns, Olivia's spirit welcomed him in a similar manner and attempted to get him to stay with her and Nell. However, Hugh sacrificed himself for his children and chose to stay with Olivia forever in Hill House.

Relationships[]

Hugh Crain[]

Hugh Crain was Olivia's husband. They were shown to be very loving towards one another. After her death, Hugh was shown to fantasize that Olivia is still there, next to him. This fantasized Olivia often gives him advice. One example of this is when she gave him advice on how to deal with Theo.

Gallery[]

*to be added*

Quotes[]

  • "Every house needs a heart, and this is ours." - Open Casket
  • "When we die, we turn into stories. And every time someone tells one of those stories, it's like we're still here for them. We're all... stories, in the end." - Open Casket
  • "You know those headaches I get sometimes? They started when I was a little girl. And when I get them, I see all sorts of... Well. Your grandmother, she was like that too. She was... sensitive." - Touch
  • "And... I see an accident waiting to happen if you don't pull those down. Bodies swinging back and forth, right there." - The Twin Thing
  • "I have a steel poker in my head, and my daughters are trashing my..." - The Bent-Neck Lady
  • "We can't be late for the reception. You're expected." - The Bent-Neck Lady
  • "I don't know. I guess I was... wandering. Maybe I was sleepwalking. I had the strangest dream." - Two Storms
  • "Wanna play a game? When there's another flash of lightning, let's count how long it takes until we hear thunder. That way, we can tell how far away it is. For every five seconds, that's one whole mile away." - Two Storms
  • "Bear with her. Today especially. Just... bear with her." - Eulogy
  • "I just think I've underestimated these migraines, you know? I'm not sleeping through the night at all. These constant dreams. [...] It just snuck up on me all of a sudden." - Eulogy
  • "When Daddy died, I made it rain rocks." - Screaming Meemies
  • "I look at my little ones right now, and... I just feel... terror... at them outside those walls. It's like I have a rock in my gut." - Screaming Meemies
  • "I was all the things, all the familiar things. I was stressed, and excited, and content a-and motivated a-and concerned, and exhausted, and annoyed. And grounded and nervous a-and creative and proud and-- and... and all of the things. But all those colors... they're all gone now, Hugh. And there's only one left. I'm scared." - Screaming Meemies
  • "You want to know the secret? We are the key." - Screaming Meemies
  • "It's okay. It's okay. She's having a nightmare. She's gonna wake up. Just a moment, and there will be no more pain." - Screaming Meemies
  • "He's killing them. He's killing all of them." - Screaming Meemies
  • "[...] We passed a house adorned with a forest of red roses. And I fell in love with that house, and with houses, all at once. I can live there forever, I thought. No one will ever find me there, either. I will light a fire in the cool evenings and toast apples in my own hearth. People will come to me to have their fortunes told, and I will brew love potions for sad maidens. I will have a... robin. I will have a robin. I almost named you Robin. Your dad even agreed. Robin Crain. But when I looked at you for the first time... you were Luke. You just were." - Silence Lay Steadily
  • "I dreamed of you. I dreamed of you and the children's laughter. And then I'd remember... that you took them from me. You took them and you hurt them, Hugh. And they suffered." - Silence Lay Steadily
  • "The night sky is full of dead stars. They explode to death. And if you could reach up with some great hand and pull them down just before they burst, you would." - Silence Lay Steadily
  • "This is our forever house." - Silence Lay Steadily
  • "Journeys don't end. Not if you love someone. They don't end at all. Isn't that wonderful?" - Silence Lay Steadily

Trivia[]

References[]

Characters
Crain Family Hugh CrainOlivia CrainSteven CrainShirley CrainTheodora CrainLuke CrainEleanor Crain
Hill Family William HillPoppy HillHazel HillJacqueline Hill
Group 2 Carl WalkerIrene WalkerMaxMr. DudleyClara DudleyLeigh CrainKevin HarrisAllieJaydenArthur VanceKelseyJoeyPaigeJanetAbigailTrish ParkRyan QualeAndiStaceyEileenRickDr. Montague
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